* ANTA’s 2017 net profit up 29.4 pct, in line with consensus
* Revenue up 25 pct, helped by demand for premium goods
* ANTA says to expand globally in 2018 (Add management comment, stock reaction)
By Donny Kwok
HONG KONG, Feb 27 (Reuters) - ANTA Sports Products Ltd booked record annual profit for a third straight year on booming demand in China for sportswear and sporting goods, and said it was now planning to make a major push overseas.
ANTA, the country’s biggest sportswear retailer by market value, has until now prioritised building its business in China but its growth in earnings over the past decade has allowed it to become more ambitious.
“We will not be complacent with only being the leading multi-brand company in China as we aspire to become (a) competitive multi-brand company in the world,” Chairman Ding Shizhong said in a statement.
Net profit jumped 29.4 percent to 3.09 billion yuan ($490 million) in the year ended December 2017, in line with analysts’ estimates.
ANTA, which sells the Fila and Descente brands in China in addition to its own home-grown ANTA brand, has benefited from strong demand for high-end products and from growing online sales.
Analysts also point to its strategy of pricing its products below global brands such as Nike and Adidas.
Revenue surged 25 percent to 16.69 billion yuan, while its gross profit margin increased 1.0 percentage point to 49.4 percent.
Analysts expect China’s sports market to grow at a faster pace than its GDP over the next decade as consumption strengthens, aided by supportive government policy and the spreading popularity of recreational sports.
Shares in the Chinese firm fell 3.3 percent in Tuesday afternoon trade after the results announcement, compared with a 0.1 percent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.
Smaller rival Li Ning Co Ltd, China’s best-known home-grown sports brand, is due to release its results in March.
$1 = 6.3056 Chinese yuan Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by James Pomfret and Edwina Gibbs